Saturday, June 30, 2012

Strawberry days

A few days ago before the rain, I picked all the ripe strawberries and still have a big bowlfull while others ripen. Alanis likes berries and chomps hers down as soon as I give them to her. When I give Miro a strawberry, he takes it to the living room to play with before eating it. I'd be unhappy about that if the carpet weren't already a wreck.
Please, may I have some more?

We wait all year for local strawberries and have them for just a few weeks. Washington strawberries are very sweet and don't keep for more than a few days after they're picked--very different from the ones found in the grocery store. 
While the parrots love blueberries and raspberries, they won't eat strawberries. The chickens happily eat the green tops and any berries that have been attacked by the slimy creatures of the night.
That one looks just right.

All the snap peas seem to be getting ready at the same time even though I planted different sections a few weeks apart, just as the directions say. We have been eating snap peas for days, with plenty more to go. Everybody loves them, raw or cooked.

There's a heap with colorful flowers and a heap with white flowers.

Yes, that's last night's rain.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Saturday, June 23, 2012


Something's  in there!

I'll catch it.

Hmm, this is more complicated than I thought.

What? It got away?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The cost of a dog

An article in the newspaper stated that the cost of raising a child from birth to age 17 (not including the cost of having the baby) is $234,900, with the price per child going down if you have several and they share rooms, clothes, and toys.

Share toys? "Mommy, he took my doll and tore her head off!" "Well, she chewed the ears off my teddy bear!" My personal breakfast table favorite from my own childhood is, "Don't look at me!" from the youngest of our Gang of Four.

The cost per year of a child ranges from $12 to $14 thousand. The point is this: according to the ASPCA the first year cost of keeping a medium dog is a mere $1,580.

But the ASPCA is wrong. First, there's no allowance for repairing the chewed wainscotting, drywall or dining room chair, not that I'm accusing any of my dogs but I've heard the stories. Nor did I see any price for gallons of Nature's Miracle or professional carpet cleaning. I guess those don't count as maintenance.

It gets sillier. Training is estimated at $110. Where I live, that hardly covers one basic obedience course. They think a year of premium brand dry kibble is $120. That's only three 30-lb bags if you find the stuff on sale at $40 per bag. By contrast, a year's food for one rabbit is given as $190. Huh? Is the rabbit eating the dog's food? The rabbit's litter is $415, a figure to prompt weird speculation about what goes in one end and out the other. As for toys and treats for the medium sized dog, the laughable figure of $55 is projected.
A few of his favorite things
Maybe Airedales count as large dogs? Large dogs get an allowance of $75 for toys and treats. Fortunately, the best squeaky toy doesn't have to be figured into the dog's budget. That toy is Dog-Mom (or Dad), who is priceless. Or in my case, beyond priceless now that my health insurance has gone up again.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sunshine award

A few days ago Dogs N Pawz gave us a sunshine award. Do we need it! Before the first week of June was over, the Seattle area had already exceeded the average rainfall for the total month. I live in fear that the strawberries will mold before they ripen. And the slugs are invading everywhere. Last night I found half a dozen of them right outside the back door. I just about screeched. Well, I did screech. Rats, snakes, spiders--they don't make me screech but slugs do. You can imagine what I think of sci-fi movies where the aliens are covered in slime. 
For the sunshine award,  the dogs answer several questions and then I pass it along to ten people. Then they pass it along to ten.

The rules are:
• Answer the questions that come with it
• Pass it along to 10 people and let them know they have received it (We're doing six right now because somebody is running out of time and has to get back to work!)

Here are the questions and our answers
Favorite number:

We can’t count but we like hearing “a lot,” as in “I have brought you a lot of treats.”

Favorite Non-alcoholic drink:

Chicken broth, preferably poured over Mom’s dinner and put in our bowls.

Facebook or Twitter:

Mom says FB because it has photos of Airedales.

My Our Passion:

Our latest is freeze-dried liver treats. There were some fish treats we liked even better but Mom said they’re too smelly. How can something be too smelly?

Favorite Pattern:

The footprints that squirrels leave in mud.

Favorite Day of the Week:

Every day!

Favorite Flower:

We Airedales are the flower of dogdom, according to Mom.

Here are six awardees in no particular order:

The Thuglets because they have such fun.
Bouncing Bertie because I love visiting Scotland.
El Diario de Lorenza because Lorenza is stuck indoors due to too much sunshine.
Mitch and Molly because they (Mitch and Maggie) are the ones who first invited us into the dog-blog community.
Little House in Paradise because it is a drool-worthy blog even without dogs.
The Beak Whisperer because of the parrots.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Got 'em

I have been watching for the strawberries. I pounced on the first to ripen, only to discover
something else got there first!
That was Saturday. This morning, seeing three berries close to ripening, but not close enough, I sat on the walkway all day, watching, keeping my berries safe from the ravening hordes of predators. Finally this evening, my devotion was rewarded with the first edible berries of the year.

Let's just say they were a bit piquant. But they're MINE.
Or they were mine. Before I ate them.

The work in the yard finished up today. It was sunny this time. Armed with two large beef bones, I lured the dogs to the back yard where all barking instantly stopped, to be replaced with scraping, slurping and gnawing sounds. That left the parrots. I cut a fresh branch and wedged it into their cage where they proceeded to make toothpicks. (Note: no photo of the bottom of the cage where the bits of branch fell,it's not pretty.) Unlike dogs, however, parrots manage to eat, chew, and scream all at the same time. Rip, tear, garrgghle.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The awful animals

    The other day workmen came here to dig in the front yard and leak lots of money from the house fix a leak outside the house. Alanis doesn't like anyone coming to the front door. She barks barks barks. When she draws  in breath through a tight throat for the next bark, she sounds like a maddened, snarling werewolf, a 150-lb menace instead of a 42-lb elderly, usually mild-mannered Airedale. Naturally, she sets off Miró's deep, resounding woofs. I have to step outside to hear anyone over the clamor, even if I've had enough advance warning to confine the dogs to crates.
   This time Alanis was in a soft-sided crate, bouncing it around the room; and Miro was behind a baby gate on the stairway landing. The workman politely tried to ignore the dogs as we shouted at each other in the doorway.
  "I'll need to see the main water shut-off," he said.
   "It's downstairs," I yelled. "I'll show you."
   He stepped in and eyed the tank where Matilda the snake was slithering around, awakened by the earthquake-like vibrations set off by the barking.
   "Is there a back door?" he shouted.
   "Yes, but then you'd have to pass by the parrots and they're even louder," I shouted back, thinking I looked even odder than the lady who lives with two dozen cats. Did I mention that my hair was dripping wet from the shower and I was barefoot, having just thrown on jeans and a sweatshirt? Workpeople are always early when you want them to be on time or late and late when you want them on time.
     You probably know that you should get up and move around at regular intervals when working at your computer. With the dogs and myself confined upstairs and Miró sitting on the stairs to guard the front window, I didn't have to remember to get up. Every time he saw so much as a shadow pass the blinds, Miró barked and I jumped like a jack-in-the-box. Very aerobic, if hard on the system.
At least I wasn't the one making all the noise. I was the smiling, gracious lady of the house. Surrounded by chaos. Isn't everyone?

And this was post #425!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Lost in the jungle

Most people use their gardens to grow things but I'm trying to get things to stop growing so much. This year's days of sun alternating with downpour have made all the greenery grow even more wildly than usual. This is a temperate rainforest area (jungle, in other words) but still....
From this angle, it looks as if the trees will swamp the driveway.

And the plants will overgrow the walkways. (Yeah, the hose has been sitting there for over a week.)

The monster vines in back, the ones I severely cut back last year.

So, no wonder I didn't blog over the weekend; I've been fighting my way out of the jungle.